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NASA Ames Research Center 

Comparison of Event Detection Methods for 
Centralized Sensor Networks 

Julien Sauvageon Alice M. Agogino 

Research Assistant Professor 

Department of Mechanical Engineering 
University of California, Berkeley 
(j sauvageon, agogino } @berkeley .edu 

Ali Farhang Mehr, Ph.D Irem Y. Turner, Ph.D. 

Engineer/QSS Group Lead 

Complex Systems Design Group 
Intelligent Systems Division 
NASA Ames Research Center 
{amehr, itumer} 


The development of an Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) for space 
vehicles has become a great concern. Smart Sensor Networks is one of the promising: 
technologies that are catching a lot of attention. In this paper, we propose to a qualitative 
comparison of several local event (hot spot) detection algorithms in centralized redundant 
sensor networks. The algorithms are compared regarding their ability to locate and 
evaluate the event under noise and sensor failures. The purpose of this study is to check if 
the ratio performance / computational power of the Mote Fuzzy Validation and Fusion 
algorithm is relevant compare to simpler methods. 


NASA is focusing considerable effort to development Integrated Vehicle Health 
Management (IVHM) systems for the next generation of space vehicles [1]. IVHM is an 
advanced form of vehicle instrumentation system that provides the capability to process 
data instead of simply recording them. The primary purpose of these intelligent sensing 
systems is to increase safety and reliability while simultaneously reducing maintenance 
costs. This allows an onboard trend analysis that could detect system degradation and 
control in-flight systems checkout in addition to permit more efficient system servicing 
on the ground [2], 

The requirements of IVHM have led to the adoption of an approach of monitoring based 
on a multi-agent system [3,4]. The recent advances in micro electro-mechanical systems 
technology, wireless communications and digital electronics have made possible the 
development of low-cost, low-power, multifunctional miniature smart sensors. These 

sensors can be deployed throughout a region to build a network for measurement, 
detection and surveillance applications. 

In this study, we propose to focus on centralized network where the data from the sensors 
converge to a central base doing the analysis and making the decisions. In order to 
compensate the low-reliability of the sensors, two different network strategies can be 
dissociated: the model-base network where the data from the nodes are fit into a model 
[5] and the non model-base network where the network uses the correlation between 
sensors readings to add some redundancy and ensure robustness. In the first case, the 
performances of the network will mostly depend on the accuracy of the model. The 
second case requires the use of an appropriate algorithm that can interpret the redundancy 
to make the approach robust against failure and to provide a sophisticated knowledge of 
the environment such as local and global information. 

Event detection is one of the most promising applications of sensor networks where a 
large number of networked nodes are used to identify regions experiencing some 
particular phenomenon. This study presents a qualitative comparison between different 
centralized ways to detect and locate events in the case of redundant sensor networks. 

This paper compares several methods regarding their ability to detect and locate local 
events, from the mass of sensors readings: 

• Simple Model Fitting Interpolation 

• Polynomial Regression 

• Distributed Gaussian Method 

• Mote Fuzzy Validation and Fusion Method 

Here, the sensor network is applied to the surface temperature sensing of an aluminum 
plate and the local event is a local rise of the temperature, a hot spot. The plate represents 
the inside aluminum structure of a space vehicle and the hot spot a failure of the thermal 
protection system. 

Ten different cases were generated with different placement of the heating resistance 
which produces the hot spot. Figure 1 illustrates the case of a network with 6x6 nodes 
placed in quadrant. 

Figure 1 : Sensors Placement and Temperature Repartition in the Plate 

The method used here for the interpolation is the bicubic technique. It is one of the most 
common interpolation methods in two dimensions. With this method, the value of the 
function fix, 7) at a point (x, y) is computed as a weighted average of the nearest sixteen 
nodes. It is composed of two basic cubic interpolations put together, one for each plane 
direction. The interpolation is calculated with the formula: 

T iA^y)=Y^ a ij xi y j 

1 = 0 y=o 

The coefficients a :j are computed by Matlab and depend on the interpolated data source 

Distributed Gaussian Method 

The idea of this method is to generate a Gaussian curve centered on each node and to do a 
normalized summation of all of them and find the maximum to detect the Temperature 

The Gaussian curve centered on the node i is: 

(*,-*) 2 J yj-yf 

G l (x,y)-f{x i ,y i )xe 2s2 xe 2e 2 

Where s is the standard deviation of the distribution and can be tuned depending on the 

In order to reduce the geometric effect of the node placement, the summation of the 
Gaussian function have to be normalized: 

fr,-*) 2 bi-yf 

'^T{x i ,y i )xe l£l xe 2 * 2 

i=l . 

n J fci ) 2 {yj-yf 

e 2£l x e 2sl 


T G a u{ X ,y) 

Mote Fuzzy Validation and Fusion Method (mote fvf) 

The Mote Fuzzy Validation and Fusion algorithm [6] was developed for wireless sensors 
network. It is able to distinguish between sensor failure and from environment abnormal 
behavior and to extract the relevant inf ormation from the mass of data of the sensor 
network. Methods for sensor validation and fusion based on fuzzy logic are unique as 
they do not require a mathematical model of the system. This algorithm uses the 
redundancy of the network to compensate the lack of reliability. 

The network takes some redundant sensor readings and makes them go through three 
major steps: validation, fusion and prediction to come up with one single robust value. So 
far, this algorithm has been applied only to uniform fields where the fusion was done 
with all the sensors. In order to apply it to non-uniform field (hot spot) the fusion is done 
locally between few sensors located in restricted areas where the field can be assumed 
u nif orm [7], For this application, one local fused value is generated by 3 sensor values as 
illustrate figure 2. 

, Node 1 Node 2 „ N Node 1 Node 2 

(b) • 

\ TjlocaL .1 .// \ 

\ y v 

\ //' T LO cal2 \ 

# -* 

Node 3 Node 4 Node 3 Node 4 

'VTloCAL 1 

.. vv- ... 



Tlocal 2 'X. 

Figure 2: Fused Local Values for (a) Quadrant Repartition (b) Triangle Repartition 

The validation part of the algorithm first filters obvious failures based on sensors physical 
limitation. Then it finds the medium of all the reading by a majority voting system and 
finally generates a dynamic validation curve in order to assign a confidence value 
cr. e [0 l] to the readings x , . The center of the validation curve, where <7 = 1, is a 
balance between the medium of the values and a prediction part. 

The fusion consists on a weighted average of the values and their confidence values with 
include a fraction of the predicted value x to prevent the system from becoming 

S r \ (XX 
x i a{x i )+ — 

__! ® 

-A r 

V 0 > 

The prediction part is an exponential weighted moving average time series predicting 

Finally, the robust fused values obtained at the end of the process are interpolate to have 
the shape of the temperature field. 

Comparison Method: 

What to Compare? 

In order to compare the algorithm, two cases are considered. 

• In the first one, all the nodes in the network are undergoing some noise (±2.5% 
and ±5% normally distributed) 

• The second case analyses the effect of one failing sensor in different places in 
the network, (with a node value 10% and 15% higher or lower from the normal 

For each of them, the methods are tested on their ability to locate precisely the 
temperature peak and to give a fair estimation of the peak value. 

In the first case, 20 different nodes values are generated with random noise and the mean 
value of the peak location, the standard deviation of the location, the mean peak value 
and its standard deviation are compared. 

In the second case, one and two failures are injected in the network and the peak location 
and value compared with the ideal case. 

As the network performances are also depend on the geographical repartition of the 
nodes, the influence of the sensor network design and the number of nodes on the 
different algorithms is also compared. 

Four network configurations illustrated figure 4 are studied, with a number of nodes of 
16, 36, 64 and 100. 

Quadrants Triangles Random Semi-Random 

In the semi-random configuratio^ {g ^e 4 r^^n^s G divi^ s into small parts with the same 

number of nodes in each part to ensure a better coverage. 

How to Compare? 

In order to compare the algorithms, the output for each case and each algorithm is put in 

the same plots format shown figure 3. 

Figure 3: Plots Format used to Compare the Algorithms 

Figure 3 represents the case of a 10% noise. Each column corresponds to a different 
algorithm. The first line is a slice of the temperature field generated by the different 

methods. This slice is following the x direction and passing trough the peak. This allows 
seeing the shape of the field for 20 different noises. The black crosses are the values of 
the nodes. The second line gives the estimate location of the peak in the x/y plan for the 
different noises, the value of the average location and the standard deviation while the 
blue cross represents the real location of the peak. And finally the third line gives the 
variation of the value of the peak, the value of the average peak and the standard 

Comparison Method 

In order to explain the method used to compare the different algorithms for the different 
cases, this part focuses on the study of one particular network configuration, quadrant 
repartition with 6x6 nodes. 

By processing the algorithms for 10 different hot spot location, it appears that the all the 
behaviors of the algorithms are a combination of 3 basic ones represented figure 5. 

(SI) middle of a nodes quadrant (S2) middle of two nodes (S3) centered in one node 

Figure5: Basic Hot Spot Location 

Regarding the number of all the different cases, a qualitative comparison able to have a 
better synthesis of the results and give more valuable information. 

For the estimation of pick location, the variation of the location, the value of the peak 
and the variation of the value, the algorithms are graded from 5 for good estimation, to 
for poor. Afterward, the values of the different cases are summed to able a global 
comparison. A summary of the results is presented Table 1 & 2. 




Peak Location Peak Value 

Center Std V Value Std V 

Peak Location Peak Value 

Center Std V Value Std V 

Peak Location Peak Value 

Center Std V Value Std V 

Interpolation noise 

5 2 


5 1 


5 2 


5 1 


5 5 


5 1 


Regression noise 

5 4 


2 4 


5 4 


1 4 


5 4 


0 4 


Gaussian noise 

5 3 


2 3 


5 4 


1 3 ! 


5 5 


0 3 


mote_fvf noise 

5 3 


4 3 


5 4 


5 3 


5 3 


2 3 


Table 1: Comparison of the Algorithms. Different HotJSpot Locations 


Peak Location Peak Value 

Center Sid V Value Std V 

Interpolation noise 

15 9 


15 3 


Regression noise 

15 12 


3 12 


Gaussian noise 

15 12 


3 9 


mote_fvf noise 

15 10 


11 9 


Table 2: Results of the Algorithms Comparison 

The results of this studies show that for the 6x6 quadrant network, the Mote_fvf is 
by far the most efficient algorithm especially in the case of faulty sensors. 

The Interpolation is fairly working in the case of the noise, but is absolutely not fault 
tolerant. The Regression and Gaussian methods both have the same kind of behavior. 
They are much more fault-tolerant and have a good peak location but are really poor in 
giving an approximate value of it. It is understandable for the regression as the hot spot is 
a local event and as the approximation curve doesn’t go through all the value of the 
nodes. The Mote_fvf gives fair results for noise but is also very fault tolerance. 
Nevertheless has got a real weakness in giving the peak value for the case S3. Indeed, the 
algorithm is taking the median of 3 nodes to compute the local values. So when the peak 
is centered on one node only, this node is among two other and its importance is 

Semi-Random Triangle Quadrant 

Comparison of Different Network Arrangements: 

The methodology previously presented is applied to all the different network designs. 
First, let’s focus on the effects of the noise on the hot spot detection. The results of the 
comparison are presented in a form of a matrix of charts Figure 6. Each line represents a 
different configuration and each column a different algorithm. 

Each plot of the matrix represents the evolution of the performance parameters with the 
number of nodes in the network. The blue line is peak value performance, the red one is 
the standard deviation of the peak location and the black line represents the location 

The peak value variation is not represented as it appears that it almost independent of the 
geometry of the network. For instance, for a normal distributed noise with a 5 % variance, 
the values has a variance of 





5% noise 





Interpolation Regression Gaussian Mote_fvf 

Peak Value Performance Location Deviation Performance 

Peak Location Performance 

Figure 6: Comparison of hot spot detection under noise 


The results are showing that for all eases, the augmentation of the numbers of nodes is a 
benefit for the performances except for the Peak Value estimation from the Regression 

The Random placement of sensors gives absurd values. The Semi-Random placement 
gives a fair estimation of the values except for the Regression algorithm. Indeed, if an 
area is poor in nodes then the behavior of the algorithm in this area becomes out of 

The repartition in triangle an quadrant don’t change much for the Regression and the 
Gaussian but it improves the location deviation of the Interpolation and Mote_fVf, as well 
as the peak value of the Mote jEvf algorithm. 

As far as the fault tolerance is concerned, the change of network design doesn’t influence 
the 3 first algorithms. Nevertheless, the Triangle repartition improves a bit the 
performances of the Mote_fvf, as 3 nodes are covering a smaller area than in the quadrant 

As far as fault tolerance is concerned, the observations are the same as for the case study 
in the previous part. The network configuration almost doesn’t change the performances 
of the interpolation, regression and Gaussian algorithms. But the triangle repartition 
improves just a bit the MotejEvf compared to the Quadrant. Moreover, the augmentation 
of the number of nodes has also a great benefit on the Mote_fvf. 

Moreover, the Mote_fvf performs the same way wherever the faulty sensor is located 
whereas other algorithm performances depend a lot on where is the fault. 


The Mote Fuzzy V alidation and -Fusion algorithm seems to be the more performing than 
the 3 other algorithms, especially for the fault tolerance. 

But its performances are as more me aning ful as the redundancy is relevant in the 
network. Then, the Mote_fvf algorithm is able to isolate false data and distinguishing 

system failures from sensor failures. But it requires more computational power than the 
other ones. 

If this is an issue then depending on the number of nodes, the Distributed Gaussian (for 
higher number) or the Regression (for lower number) are a good compromise. 


[1] NASA - Ames Research Center- Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM): 

[2] D. Abbott, 2002. “Development and Evaluation of Sensor Concepts for Ageless 
Aerospace Vehicles: Development of Concepts for an Intelligent Sensing System”, 
NASA Report no. NASA/CR-2002-21 1773, 

[3] M. Hedley, M. Johnson, C. Lewis, D. Carpenter, H. Lovatt, D. Price. “Smart Sensor 
Network for Space Vehicle Monitoring”. In Procee ding s of the International Signal 
Processing Conference, Dallas TX, March 2003. 

[4] D.C. Price etal. “An Integrated Health Monitoring System for an Ageless Aerospace 
Vehicle”. In Proceedings of the International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, 
Stanford, September 2003. 

[5] T.J. Johnson et al., “Distributed structural health monitoring with a smart sensor 
array”, Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing 18 (2004) pp.555-572 

[6] Y.-J Wen, A.M. Agogino and K. Goebel, ’’Fuzzy Validation and Fusion for Wireless 
Sensor Networks” , Proceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering 
Congress, Anaheim, CA, 2004. 

[7] J. Sauvageon, “Integrated Systems Health Monitoring Using Smart Dust Mote Sensor 
Networks: Hot Spot and Peak Strain Detection in Space Vehicles”, Master Report 2005, 
UC Berkeley